Several things worked for Peter Vermes and the Kansas City Wizards on Wednesday night: Finally moving Josh Wolff to the bench and inserting Teal Bunbury (who scored a great goal) obviously was a great move. But putting Craig Rocastle into the mix was also nice (while Jack Jewsbury works his tail off, he doesn't inspire fear; Red Card Rocastle does). Ryan Smith and Kei Kamara seemed alive. This team shows it understands how to execute a tight counter-attack. Graham Zusi had a great showing as a sub.
Most importantly, the team managed to steal three points from the best team in their conference. (A friend made the analogy of the game being like Wigan going to Old Trafford and winning. I wouldn't go quite that far. But at least he had some idea of how big the win was.)
But something about Wednesday still doesn't sit well with me this morning: That should've been a much higher scoring game.
The play was open, both defenses were stretched, both teams placed wide-open shots into the chest/arms/feet of the opposing keepers and the general play was sloppy on both ends.*
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You are completely within your rights as a Wizards supporter to be excited about this result. You should be. After all when you can still count all of your team's wins on the season on your left hand alone, a win of any kind is almost worthy of a good car flipping. And, I don't mean to crap on a positive completely, but don't let the "We Won!" euphoria cloud this fact: Without Jimmy Nielsen, that game ends in a bloodbath.
For only the third time since May 1, the back four
allow a soft goal. That wasn't for a lack of trying.
After snagging the opening goal on the counter, the Wizards went all
and clung to survival. Shavar Thomas and Jimmy Conrad allowed Columbus to find space behind them and surrendered dangerous free kicks and corners throughout the last 15 minutes. Columbus found an unbelievable amount of men free in the box. The Wizards at times did everything but gift wrap the ball to Columbus in the midfield. Point blank shots and barely missed headers just kept coming and coming.
But none of that mattered, because The White Puma stood on his blond head and kept everything in front him. He made three Save of the Week caliber saves.*
Like this one:
Or this one:*Miraculously, The White Puma decided to take a break from being nominated for NAPA Save of the Week for last weekend against Chivas. Can't dominate everything.
He was en fuego, and if my memory from dozens of bad Vegas movies (and some good ones), you ride a hot streak as far as it will take you.**Wait. Casino Jimmy. Just remembered. Bad analogy.
The question is, just how long will it last. Hopefully, it will last for another 90 minutes tomorrow in Denver.
Because I don't believe in going out on a downer, here's the really excellent crowd-silencing goal (the first of his MLS career) by Teal Bunbury.